“I get excited when I some of our worship team start becoming Christians.” What? My friend Greg Telle and I were standing in the middle of a Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. The comment came from the worship pastor. I remember looking at him and saying “Huh?” He went on to say that they used musicians from all walks of life. Many of them were in other bands, touring the local scene. He did make the comment that he rarely had a problem with musicians who normally played the bars. They wouldn’t complain about monitors and other things, they were just happy to play. They were in a good atmosphere and some were becoming followers of Christ. No doubt they were highly skilled. Skill outranks spirituality.
On the other side of the coin is Matt Redman. In a small gathering with Matt, he said that you should always use totally devoted Christians. He contended that worship is sacred and should be led by those who have given their life to Christ. Spirituality outranks skill.
So which is it? Is it a requirement that your worship team be followers of Jesus? Does it matter? Do you base your requirements on spiritual maturity or skill?
This question has to be wrestled with. What do you think?
We have had to wrestle with this over the years. I am pretty happy where we have landed.
At exchange, we have a group of musicians (about 25) which we call the “musician’s pool.” Each week we pick from the pool and make a band. Most of the people we use are people who have committed their life to Christ and are part of exchange. In our audition process, we explain that when you are on stage, people look at you and assume that you are sold out to the cause of Christ. Like it or not, that is the way it is.
Do we use people who are not followers of Christ? Yes. I know that sounds hypocritical, but let me explain. There are occasions when we invite people to come and be part of the band for a gathering or two. The only reason they initially come is to play. If we can get them hooked to the kingdom by an invitation to play occasionally, I can totally justify that. We are honest and up front with people on this. If, after a while, they drop out of exchange, or only show up when they play, we have another conversation. As a matter of fact, I got a call from a guy who had not played or been to exchange for a long time. “Let me know if you need me to play, I would love to play.” I told him I would love for him to play but first step was to get back and get settled in exchange. He has yet to come back.
I do think that we have a responsibility to lead with integrity. I also believe that Christ is passionate about those who have yet to know him. If that means that we risk putting up someone who is less that sold out in hopes that they come to know Christ, I’ll take the risk.
So, what has been your experience with skill and spiritual maturity?
[tags]worship, worship leading, Matt Redman, Vineyard, skill, maturity, band, musicians[/tags]